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F1 US GP: Renault explains reasons for Hulkenberg signing

Frederic Vasseur says Nico Hulkenberg's ability to 'motivate' as a team leader convinced Renault to sign him for the 2017 F1 season.
Renault team principal Frederic Vasseur has revealed it was Nico Hulkenberg's skills as a 'real leader' that contributed to its decision to sign him for the 2017 Formula 1 World Championship.

After three years with Force India, Hulkenberg will switch to Renault next season as the French manufacturer looks to re-establish itself as a front runner following a difficult return to F1 as a constructor in 2016.

The deal will see Hulkenberg reunited with Vasseur, who managed his title winning success at ART Grand Prix in both European Formula 3 and the GP2 Series, with the team principal expecting him to flourish in his new role as a team leader.

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“Nico is one of the drivers that has really made his mark, with in particular a GP2 title in his first year in the series. Only three drivers have done this so far: Nico, Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton. He has succeeded in everything in his career to date, including Le Mans.

“He is also a real leader and able to motivate a team and take the troops with him. He has a lot of experience and is very fast; that is very important for us in this stage of our development.

“From a technical perspective, an experienced and conscientious driver can give precious feedback as well as knowing exactly what they want from the car. This allows the team to work fast and efficiently. We are really happy to have him with us.”

Making his F1 debut in 2010, though Hulkenberg has never achieved a podium in F1, he is on course for a fourth consecutive finish inside the overall top ten for Force India. He also famously won the 2015 Le Mans 24 Hours in a guest appearance for Porsche alongside Nick Tandy and Earl Bamber.

Hulkenberg is expected to form part of an all-new driver line-up for Renault alongside Esteban Ocon.

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October 17, 2016 3:12 PM

His pace is fast and consistent, and he reportedly works very well with his engineers. If anything, Renault will know exactly where they stand with the package and there will be no questioning the drivers. If KM or JP remain they could see their value rise, provided they can match his pace. However, it seems probable now that Bottas will join the squad as well. Renault is wisely investing in proven drivers as well as developing their package. I doubt they can win a race next year but a podium is possible, and the third year anything is possible.

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